Mets stay hot with sweep of Padres, 5th straight win

Alonso (5 RBIs), Lindor hit first-inning homers to fuel offense that's clicking on all cylinders

June 16th, 2024

NEW YORK -- By beating the Padres, 11-6, at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon, not only did the Mets sweep the three-game weekend series, but they also remained one of the hottest teams in the Major Leagues with their fifth consecutive victory.

Since shortstop called a players-only meeting after a 10-3 loss to the Dodgers on May 29, the Mets have gone 11-4 and are just 1 1/2 games behind the Padres and Nationals for the third and final NL Wild Card spot.

“We are winning games, but even when it was hard for us, the guys never gave up,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “They continue to show up every day. They continue to work. Our preparation continues to get better and they are having fun.

“A lot of people forget that this game is hard and you are going to go through struggles, and you have to find a way to stay positive, even when it’s hard. … To see [the players] come through, it’s exciting. The expectations are -- we will continue to prepare, push each other and compete.”

Lindor and led the charge out of the gate on Sunday, with Lindor hitting a leadoff homer and Alonso belting a three-run shot in a four-run first inning against Padres right-hander Dylan Cease. Lindor’s last leadoff home run came on Sept. 3, 2019, when he was with Cleveland, and he also hit that one off Cease.

“I was trying to get a good pitch and drive it,” Lindor said. “It’s the same approach I usually have early in the count.”

For the fourth straight game, J.D. Martinez played a huge role in the Mets’ win. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and two walks. Martinez reached base safely in 10 straight plate appearances dating back to Friday, before striking out against reliever Jeremiah Estrada in the eighth inning. The Mets record is held by John Olerud with 15 in 1998.

“When everybody is hitting on all cylinders, it’s really fun as an offense. I felt we had great at-bats all up and down the lineup,” Alonso said. “I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on pitches in the zone and laying off some tough ones. We did a great job with our execution today.”

In their past 15 games, the Mets are batting .284 with 20 homers, 81 RBIs and an .840 OPS. It helps that the players bounce ideas off each other and stick to the plan they have in the batter’s box.

“We have a purpose,” Lindor said. “Our intent usually follows the plan that we have. Yeah, we are playing well. This is a good wave that we are riding right now. We just have to make sure we stay on it as long as we can.”

The Mets’ bullpen had a rough eighth inning, allowing four runs as the Padres cut the lead to 7-6. Before that players-only meeting, the Mets would have found a way to lose a game like the one on Sunday. That was in May. This is June. The offense answered back in the bottom half as Luis Torrens led off with a home run. It was that monster shot that convinced the Mets that the game was theirs for the taking.

“Huge, and you can feel it in the dugout,” Mendoza said. “As soon as he hit that ball, the reaction from the boys [was great]. Now you are up by two. It kind of shut down the momentum that [the Padres] had going into the ninth. So it’s a different inning. We continued to put together some at-bats.”

New York then added to the lead. The biggest hit came from Alonso, who laced a two-run single off Estrada to cap the four-run inning. Alonso ended up with five RBIs for the day, raising his total for the season to a team-leading 37.

“I was happy I was able to capitalize on some pitches. I was happy to come through for the boys there,” he said.

For the homestand, the Mets went 5-1 and now travel to Arlington to play the Rangers in a three-game series.

“This homestand we played clean baseball,” Alonso said. “We played great team baseball. I thought we did a good job defensively, pitching and putting together great at-bats in the lineup.”